In February 2018, I headed to Texas to run the Austin Half Marathon for my Texas race in my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states.
The race is held in February each year the Sunday of President’s Day weekend. For someone like me who lives in the northern United States, it’s the perfect time of year to escape south for some better weather. Oddly enough this year Austin ended up experiencing some winter weather on what would have been the day of the race if it hadn’t been postponed due to the pandemic. It’s crazy to me to think of snow and temperatures below freezing so far south! But luckily this year the race was postponed to April, the weather should be better then and fingers crossed the pandemic will not postpone it further or cancel it.
The race includes a marathon, half marathon and 5K. It’s a fairly large race, 2020 had over 16,000 runners from all 50 states and 36 countries. If you enjoy larger races, this is definitely a race for you.
The race start and finish line are conveniently located downtown on Congress Avenue. The course is definitely not easy! Before I left I spoke to some friends who had run the half marathon and the marathon in past years and they warned me of the hills on the course. I hate hills and for some reason, even though I hate them, I never seem to look at the elevation chart of races when I sign up. This is probably something I should start to do.
Even though I was warned about the hills, I still did not expect so many, I felt like it was hill after hill the entire course! During the winter months in Boston, I tend to run on the treadmill alot and took a lot of classes at my local running studio which definitely gave me some practice running hills. Thanks to these classes, I managed to run every hill thru the first 8 miles, which is rare for me, normally I see a hill and instantly stop running to walk up it. After mile 8 I attempted to run the hills, but ended up walking alot of them. They were neverending all the way up to the last mile!
The spectators along the course must know how difficult the hills are and made sure to reward the runners. There were spectators handing out oranges, candy and beer! I can’t tell you how great the beer tasted after running up all these hills! You might be thinking, beer while running, are you crazy? Nope, not crazy, it was so refreshing and I mean it has carbs in it! lol This is definitely a great race if you enjoy alot of spectators, the support was amazing!
After all those hills, it definitely felt great to make my way by the Texas State Capitol Building and onto Congress Ave to the finish line.
I actually was happy with my finish time considering the hills. It definitely wasn’t one of my fastest but it was still just a little over 3 hours at 3:00:42. Not bad considering how much walking I did the last 5 miles of the race.
After the race my friend and I headed to Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que on Congress Avenue. Some Texas barbeque was definitely the perfect reward for running a tough race. I also decided on dessert for dinner that evening and headed over to Voodoo Donuts on 6th Street for a delicious M&M donut!
If you don’t mind the hills, I highly recommend the Austin half marathon. Even though the course was tough, it was definitely a fun race in a beautiful city.
Check out my post on things to do in Austin if you want to plan a trip around this race.